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Wayback Recap: Outlander Episode 1

We're going wayback to the 18th century with this recap. It's the very first episode of Outlander! So grab onto your standing stones and don't let go!

We begin where it must with a Claire voiceover: she muses that people disappear all the time. Usually there's a good explanation, one that doesn't require fairy tales and time travel. Claire also has buyer's remorse, remembering that one time she saw a beautiful blue vase and failed to buy it.

Claire also remembers her time as a combat nurse and god there's blood and guts and she's doing things with surgical instruments that should not be done on a person without a heavy does of morphine. Some "real" doctors show up to relieve Claire from the wounded soldier she was tending just in time for her to wander out into a massive celebration: World War II is over! But VE day is but a distant memory now for Claire. That vase, though... That she remembers. If she'd bought it, would it have changed everything? Prevented all the pain? Given her happiness? Eh. Even if, she's still walking away from that vase and we Outlander fans (and Jamie Fraser) are forever grateful.

But before we can get to amazing love, it's Claire and Frank sexy time! The couple is in Scotland for their second honeymoon, trying to get past the physical and emotional distance in their marriage after five years of separation during the war. Good luck with that. And what better way to kick off a romantic holiday than pulling up to your bed and breakfast to find the doorframe smeared in blood? Frank launches into an explanation....zzzzz. Huh? What? Oh. Frank says, in a dry, nasally voice, that there's no place on earth more magical than the Scottish Highlands. If I had to go just on Frank's word about that I might seriously question how exciting it could be.

The innkeeper backs him up, however, telling the couple that it is a blood sacrifice on her door. For Saint Oran. Frank launches into an explanation....zzzzz. Dammit man! Frank reveals he will soon be boring students at Oxford as a professor. The exciting news is (really) it's almost Samhain, aka Halloween, so we can expect exciting ghost sightings once Frank stops talking. Or maybe that will just be my ghost, dead from THE BOREDOM OF LISTENING TO FRANK!

Claire and Frank retire upstairs to their room. It's only completely awkward as Frank settles in to do some reading while Claire has something much more fun in mind. She playfully gets Frank to jump on the very noisy bed with her much to the chagrin of the innkeeper below. The innkeeper is weirdly pleased when the couple finally gets down to things that really make the bed squeak.

Frank can only take so much sexy time, though, before he's dragging Claire out of bed and on the road for some historical sightseeing. During their drive he points out to Claire Cocknammon Rock (which is Gaelic for "Have sex with someone more exciting Claire"). It was used by British patrols for ambushes during the 18th century. This is important Claire. Remember this!

Claire reminds us that even if this seems like a dull way to spend your second honeymoon, she's totally cool with it. She was raised by her archaeologist uncle after the death of her parents and so she's used to dusty ruins and knows how to dig latrines and boil water. She's good to go if she should ever end up somewhere out of time needing a very specific skill set.

In other exciting news, Franks newfound "passion" is genealogy. (Claire tells us this as if "passion" indicated something other than what it really means). It's really Frank's personal ancestors that interest him the most. Screw everyone else. Claire is currently into finding out how to use plants for medicinal purposes and posting cute pics of the flowers on her Facebook page. Another good skill to have on hand. Combine that with Frank's genealogy knowledge and you have a super time traveler.

They're touring Castle Leoch, home of the MacKenzie clan during the 18th century. Things have gone to rot since that time, but it's still interesting enough to draw the two inside. Claire's throwing heart eyes at Frank all over the place, but he's using his interest in history to put up barriers between them. Frank muses that his lovely ancestor may have walked these very halls. Claire muses that they can make better use of their time together inviting Frank to go down on her in one of the castle's rooms.

That's enough of that Claire! Frank can only give so much. He next takes her to the Reverend Wakefield's house for a fun afternoon of research. Frank's looking for information about Jonathan Wolverton Randall aka Black Jack Randall, a Captain of Dragoons in the British Army during the 18th century. Frank is fixated on him, luckily for Claire, and wants to know all the details he can about this ancestor (dismissing the fact that Black Jack spent most of his tenure harassing the Scottish countryside).

Claire's noticed the ill will between British and Scottish peoples has continued into the 20th century, revealing that someone at the bar last night called her and Frank "Sassenachs." And not in the Jamie Fraser kind of way. Rev. Wakefield tries to tell her that it just means Englishman or "Outlander." Claire's look says, "That's not what it sounded like to me!" She is promptly rescued by Mrs. Graham who offers her snacks and palm readings in the kitchen away from the boring research.

Claire tries to enjoy the tea, but Mrs. Graham has other things in mind. She wants to read Claire's tea leaves and her palm: a double fortune telling experience. We learn Claire is really good in bed, and some weird shit is gonna go down with her marriage (like say taking a second husband). Frank and Rev. Wakefield break things up just in time. They're arguing over whether Black Jack had a sponsor for his terrorism. Frank thinks it may have been the Duke of Sandringham, a suspected Jacobite. As fascinating as this all is, Claire's ready to leave and she hightails it back to the bed and breakfast, leaving Frank to finish up his research.

Frank finally makes his way home just as a thunderstorm moves in. The thunder and lightning have also brought with them a ghostly figure, in traditional highland regalia, who is staring up at the window of the bed and breakfast. In that window? Claire, who is waging war against her curls with her brush. Frank tries to confront the would be peeping tom, but the figure turns and disappears. A disconcerted and distracted Frank heads inside.

Claire demands to know what is wrong. Says Frank looks like he's seen a ghost. What? Me? Says Frank. Yes, you, Frank. Says Claire. Frank explains what he saw and then accuses Claire of having had an affair with the ghost. That happens later, Frank, not yet. Claire is offended, rightfully so. She only sleeps with vampires, thank you very much. Claire denies she did anything to cheat on Frank during the war. Frank does not offer the same reassurance. He does, however, apologize for being an ass and tells Claire nothing she could ever do could stop his loving her. We'll see, Frank.

Avert your eyes, more Randall sexy time. During pillow talk after Frank remembers there is a Druid ceremony he wants to see in the morning. Claire, who was hoping to just sleep in!, sighs and agrees to go with him to the circle of standing stones at Craig na Dun. The next morning, as they walk up in the pitch dark, Frank is explaining zzzzzzzz.... Remind me never to do a cruise with Frank. Trapped for days on end at sea with that miserable bore... Yikes!

The couple hide, waiting for the druids, who arrive in flowing robes carrying lanterns. They begin a ceremonial dance that ends just as the sun rises and hits the stones. Leading this mystical mayhem? Mrs. Graham of fortunetelling fame. The druids leave, giving Claire and Frank a short amount of time to look around before a druidette comes back searching for a missing barrette. Not wanting to intrude, the couple take their leave.

Back at the Bed and Breakfast, Claire can't get the image of some lovely Forget-Me-Nots she saw growing at the base of one of the stones out of her head. For some reason she's desperate to get back out there to the flowers. Or is that just me? Please, Claire, say goodbye to Frank and go to the stones. With one last kiss, Frank is out the door and Claire is on her way. Hooray!

Claire arrives at the standing stones where a mystical wind is already going nutty. Claire finds her flowers, but is distracted by a Tardis sound coming from the main rock in the center of the standing stones. It's not The Doctor, but a portal to another time! When Claire places her hands on the stone she is jolted through chaos. She wakes up and finds herself right where she was, in the middle of the standing stones. I always wonder what would've happened if she'd leaned on the stone to help herself stand up.

Needless to say, she doesn't. Forgetting her wrap, Claire runs down the hill to her car, which is gone. As is the road. A befuddled Claire makes her way back through the woods when she suddenly comes across a battle between a group of Scottish Highlanders and some Red Coats. Not believing her eyes, and perhaps hoping to see some police arrive on scene ala The Holy Grail, Claire watches in confusion. A gunshot directed at her snaps her out of her shock, forcing her to run away!

Claire tumbles down into a ravine where she finds Frank? Uh, no. Not Frank. It's his evil twin: Captain Black Jack Randall. Claire does not look pleased to hear this news, and decides the best course of action is to once again run away! "Catch the girl" being Black Jack's favorite game, he quickly snags Claire and demands to know who she is. Wisely, Claire tells him her husband's name is Frank Beauchamp, using her maiden name. She's obviously aware that anyone who holds a sword to the throat of a damsel in distress isn't going to take too kindly to someone using his own name.

Things go from worse to worser when Claire spits in Black Jack's face and calls him a bastard. Randall decides if Claire's going to act like a whore he's going to sexually assault her. Luckily, a highlander (Murtagh!) jumps down, knocks out Randall, rushes Claire to safety, and then knocks her out cold. Say what? Well, she was insisting on answers and alerting the Red Coats to their location so a knock out it is.

When Claire comes to she's on a horse with her rescuer headed towards a small hut. Claire doesn't approve of Murtagh's body odor but he could care less. He forces her into the hut where she's confronted by an entire band of highlanders (and a very attractive lad who appears to be hurt). The leader, (Dougal!), asks Claire her name. She continues to use the name Beauchamp. Murtagh explains he found her in the clutches of Black Jack and thought it best to get her out of there and ask questions later.

Dougal says they'll figure Claire out later, right now they've got to hit the road! But first they have to destroy the attractive lad's dislocated shoulder, (Jamie!), by jamming it back into place so that it will never work again. Claire jumps in and puts a halt to the catastrophe. She puts on her best World War II nurse voice and gets the men to let her help Jamie. They're all stunned when she snaps the shoulder back in place, relieving his pain. Claire explains that she's a nurse, and Jamie decides to check out whether this is true by ogling her chest. Not a wet nurse you dolt! Says Claire. Oh, he knew, Claire.

Jamie is now fit to ride, so Dougal is throwing everyone, including Claire, out of the nice warm hut and into an ice rain storm. They're going to ride through the night. Claire's more concerned with the fact that she can't seem to make out the lights of Inverness, the town where she was staying with Frank. She's not reassured at all when Jamie tells her the big black spot far off where all hope goes to die is Inverness. Claire has to assume at this point, since she's not seeing any QuickTrips or electric lights, she's traveled back in time.

In a piece of dialogue that's always bothered me, Dougal grabs Claire and says she better stay close to them and if she "tries anything else" he'll slit her throat. What has she tried so far? Fixing Jamie's shoulder? Fat lot of thanks she gets for that you ungrateful sod. Her punishment for helping is she has to ride on a horse with Jamie through the night. Poor girl. Jamie tries to welcome her into his personal space by offering to share his kilt with her, wrapping her tightly to him. Claire grudgingly accepts. Come on, Claire! Married or not, this is the best thing that's happened to you all day.

When we find Claire the next morning, she's still riding with Jamie and not looking as happy as she should be after a night in Jamie Fraser's arms. Claire's still so distraught that in one frame Jamie's kilt is wrapped around her, and then in the next frame, she's thrown it off, then put it back on, and then thrown it off again. Make up your mind, lass! Claire suddenly realizes where they are, Cocknammon Rock, remembering that one time Frank told her about how British patrols used it for ambushes.

Claire warns Jamie what's about to happen. To his credit, Jamie believes her and warns Dougal. Dougal wants to know exactly how Claire came to know all about this Cocky rocky. Claire fibs that she heard it in "the village," a catch-all for anywhere. Good thing she didn't explain all Frank had told her. Dougal would've died of boredom before reaching the ambush.

Dougal gives the order to attack so Jamie promptly throws Claire off his horse into the bushes shouting, "hide yerself!" Yeah, like she's going to stick around, Casanova, after that display of romance. Claire runs in the opposite direction from the fight that has now broken out between the Highlanders and the Red Coats who were hiding in wait. Dammit. Frank was right.

She doesn't get very far, however, before Jamie catches up to her. When Claire refuses to come back with him, Jamie threatens to throw her over his shoulder and carry her back to the others. Preferring to keep her dignity rather than participate in something any other woman would say yes to, Claire allows Jamie to take her back. Claire gets a hero's welcome, all of them drinking to her for warning them about the Red Coats. Claire grudgingly takes a drink and thus is born her love of all things whisky.

The long ride home continues into the night. Jamie appears to have fallen asleep, but when he tumbles off the horse it becomes obvious something is seriously wrong. It's Nurse Claire to the rescue again. She finds a gunshot wound in his shoulder. It's not serious, but the blood loss has caused Jamie to pass out. Claire tries some 20th century language on the Highlanders but quickly realizes she's not getting through to them. Apparently none of them knows what it means to "disinfect", what "germs" are, or what merthiolate is (though neither do I). Only when she asks for alcohol to treat the wound, does she finally get through. She pours it on Jamie's shoulder causing him to wake quickly from the pain.

Claire demands some sterilized bandages (ha!) and swears, "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ" when she has to tear her own dress to make do. Then, when the bandages won't go on correctly, Claire snaps, having had just about enough of this Scottish adventure. "Come on you goddamn bloody bastard!" she yells. The Highlanders are in shock having never heard a woman speak in such a manner. When they try and call her on it she stuffs it right back down their throat. She then threatens Jamie with death if he makes her mess up the bandage. Jamie appears to find the whole thing amusing and intriguing.

When Dougal insists on leaving despite Claire's demands that Jamie be allowed to rest, she tries to storm after him to argue. Jamie stops her, though, by bringing up Jack Randall. He tells Claire what a horrible person Black Jack is, and says if she can't fix him well enough to ride she's going to make sure and leave a gun with him so he can determine his own fate. No one should fall into the clutches of Randall. Claire gets him bandaged and helps him to his feet. Jamie thanks Claire calling her, "Sassenach." Now that sounds much sexier than the old guy who called her that in the bar in Scotland. Claire just stares before finally telling him, "On your horse, soldier."

Sometime the next day they finally arrive at Castle Leoch, the same castle she toured a few days ago with Frank. Claire's not feeling too great especially when she realizes it's the same castle where guards "fart in your general direction." Claire's pretty sure that despite all the awful (she forgot about meeting Jamie!) things are only going to get worse. If she only knew....

Wayback Recap: Outlander Episode 1 Reviewed by Deborah Thompson on 3:51 PM Rating: 5

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